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Morning Reads: Congressional Dems Push Gun Control Back Home; Senate Passes Puerto Rico Plan

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Congressional Dems Push Gun Control Back Home

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on June 29 in San Francisco calling on Congress to hold a vote on new gun control measures. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Gun control push continues –> With the House of Representatives in recess until after the July 4th holiday, Democratic members are in their districts continuing the push for gun control. Emmarie Huetteman for The New York Times: “House Democrats hosted 40 events across the country on Wednesday, with more than 60 members participating, trying to maintain the momentum created by their more than 25-hour sit-in on the chamber floor last week after the June 12 shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Scattered across their districts, the handful of committed but often wary activists who greeted them Wednesday served as a reminder of how difficult it can be to keep people energized when they have been disappointed for so long.”

Congress lends Puerto Rico a hand –> A bill to bail out Puerto Rico, which is struggling to get out from under crushing debt, has passed Congress. Obama is expected to sign it today, and Nick Timiraos reports for The Wall Street Journal that, with the commonwealth’s health-care system on the brink of collapse and people abandoning the island, it comes not a moment too soon. The bill would block a lawsuit by hedge funds seeking to get an earlier return on their investment in Puerto Rico’s debt. But the bill also has been criticized by Bernie Sanders and others as smacking of colonialism, with a Republican-dominated oversight board put in place to restructure the island’s more than $70 billion in IOUs.

Mayhem in Britain continues –> Griff Witte for The Washington Post: “The question of who will lead Britain into its future outside the European Union — a muddled mess for nearly a week — was further scrambled Thursday, with the camp that had favored an exit splintering into warring tribes and forcing former London Mayor Boris Johnson to drop from the contest to become prime minister. The latest whiplash twist in British politics pushes the flamboyant Johnson to the margins and sets up a showdown within the governing Conservatives: go with a party insider [Michael Gove] who broke with Prime Minister David Cameron and championed the anti-EU side, or stick with a Cameron loyalist [Theresa May] and pick Britain’s first female leader since Margaret Thatcher…

“‘You couldn’t make it up,’ Tory member of Parliament Nigel Evans told the BBC. ‘It makes the House of Cards look like Teletubbies.'”

Crony capitalism –> Michael Stratford and Kimberly Hefling for Politico: “As the Obama administration cracks down on for-profit colleges, three former officials working on behalf of an investment firm run by President Barack Obama’s best friend have staged a behind-the-scenes campaign to get the Education Department to green-light a purchase of the biggest for-profit of them all — the University of Phoenix. The investors include a private-equity firm founded and run by longtime Obama friend Marty Nesbitt and former Deputy Education Secretary Tony Miller. The firm, Chicago-based Vistria Group, has mounted a charm offensive on Capitol Hill to talk up the proposed sale of the troubled for-profit education giant, which receives more than $2 billion a year in taxpayer money but is under investigation by three state attorneys general and the FTC.”

Corrupting influence –> A new poll commissioned by the reform group Issue One finds that money in politics is one of voters’ top five issues in this election — but the only one of the top five that most politicians do not have a plan to address.

Oakland, California, votes to ban coal –> Developers had been hoping to use the city’s seaport to export coal, but a vote by the city council indicates support for preventing coal from being handled anywhere within the city. The ordinance requires a second vote to become final.

Meanwhile, across the Bay, Time magazine’s Katie Reilly reports that “The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to outlaw a host of commonly used foam products, in a move hailed as the nation’s most extensive such ban. The ban applies to polystyrene food packaging, packing peanuts, to-go containers, coffee cups and pool toys, among other things… The bill’s sponsors argued that such foam products, which are not biodegradable, pollute waterways and can harm animal life. They touted the ban as an example of the city’s leadership on environmental issues.”

One foot still in the door –> The Hill: “Mitt Romney said on Wednesday that his family wanted him to get in the presidential race early on — and that at least one member is still pushing him to mount an independent bid… But the 2012 GOP nominee does not think that he’ll have much success without the full support of his party.” Oh, Mitt…

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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